News Release

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Miami University
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Miami libraries earn top ratings

01/10/2002

In a recent benchmarking survey comparing the attitude of faculty and student clients at 43 top university libraries, Miami University ranked first in overall satisfaction with the quality of service and facilities.

“Receiving this recognition is a tribute to the expertise and hard work of librarians and staff,” said Judith Sessions, dean of Miami’s libraries. The results are even more impressive when Miami’s above-average scores are compared to its resources, which are considerably less than Miami’s peer institutions both private and public, she said.

For example, while Miami’s libraries spend about $500 per student, some peer institutions participating in the survey reported spending 50 to 70 percent more and one reported expenditures of $1,180 per student.

The survey, conducted during spring 2001, identified nine key categories, including the quality of library collections, the quality of facilities, the helpfulness of employees and whether clients receive assistance in becoming more efficient consumers of information.

Miami enjoyed the highest response rate (37 percent) of any participating institution with approximately 1,000 faculty, graduate students and undergraduates responding to the 56-question survey.

Miami scored particularly well on questions connected with providing access to materials and enabling self-reliance on the part of library users. Those scores reflect the continuing instructional effort and the availability of digital collections and online assistance, said Sessions.

One-on-one assistance is available in Miami’s libraries 78 hours a week, she said, adding that a new reference service is available to students, faculty and staff from any Internet-accessible computer in the world.

“Although Miami scored extremely well overall, that doesn’t mean we cannot learn from other libraries and continue to improve,” Sessions said.

For example, Miami faces continuing challenges in keeping pace with the ever-expanding need for modern technology and in maintaining comprehensive book and serial collections.

The survey was made possible in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE). It will be conducted again in April and expanded to include 175 university libraries. Miami will participate again.

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Facts and Figures About Miami University Libraries:

  • 41 librarians
  • 58 staff
  • 200 student employees
  • 2.2 million volumes
  • 5,961 journal subscriptions
  • 616,748 check-outs and renewals annually
  • 442 guest lectures and workshops presented to 10,394 faculty, staff and students

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